“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.” Blade Runner
To Roger, of Soweto. He was hit by a rubber bullet shot by a Spanish policeman on Sunday. The Catalan Parliament banned the use of rubber bullets in December 2013.
Article written by David Fernandez. Barcelona 10/10/2017.
Originaly published in the La Directa, We thank Miquel Strubell for the translation)
At the disgraceful price of the brutality of Power. In front of all the scandals of the State. And before the greatest level of institutional violence and repressive delirium seen in a long time. Only five days ago, collective intelligence, social self-determination and democratic dignity halted the State coups ordered against the democratic rectitude of Catalonia’s political freedom. The defeat, in spite of selling it cynically as a victory thanks to its impotent arrogance, was severe. For it was not just one: at the very least, there were six. Six defeats condensed into one. In difficult times, self-determined in the face of the miserable violence of persecution and thanks to the humble shared decision not to retreat, two million people were able to challenge – nullifying, disobeying, overflowing – the always sinister reason of State.
Logistic defeat. That the clandestine protection of the ballot boxes was reborn in Elna – Northern Catalonia -, in the cradle of the memory of our Republican exile, on the other side of the border, is not just a political metaphor and poetic justice. It is evidence that a parallel and silent network, solid and tenacious, knew how to get round the siege, using wise discretion, by those who wanted to seize everything. October 1: one nil, too. Impossible to forget. Sleeplessness, awakenings and five in the morning. A knock at the door of each polling station where we were sleeping out in the open, and a warm anonymous voice with the password: “Here’s your breakfast”. The deliverers of dreams. The deliverers of ballot boxes.
Police-military defeat. Out in the field – in the streets -, from the early hours and receiving all the blows, thousands of people – bodies against batons, patience against intransigence, calm against ferocity – neutralized the violence of assault, of military design, that tried to multiply fear and that tried to chase up each school, only managing to savagely close a few. The failed, vile State proved to be absolutely incapable of preventing the referendum and the exercise of popular sovereignty. That “A por ellos” (“Go get ‘em”) – which had become a hooligan state policy by Bourbon orders, seen in each confiscated ballot box held up like a hunting trophy – was overwhelmed by a society that was only too aware of what was at stake. There are days that will last for years, Ovidi [Montllor] sang, and infinite gestures that will accompany us forever. The old slogans, from when we were on our own, revisited: Yes we can, never again alone, together – only together – is when we can. And yes: there is an irreversible before and after. Nothing will be the same, nor are we the same. In the insurmountable dialectic between the best of people against the worst of the State.
Cybernetic defeat. That our ‘hackers of the impossible’ – my thanks, once again – won the difficult technological battle, always unequal, in order to keep alive the single census during the whole day, under free software schemes and encryption, gives food for thought. Plenty of it. Neither in analog or in digital: the Big Brother State did not get away with i, despite spending the whole day busting servers, breaking IPs and sabotaging domains. In the same way that it busted doors, broke heads and sabotaged ballot boxes.
Politico-social defeat. In the dilemma between democracy and demophobia, the entire news archive remains. Come on, Soraya `deputy Prime Minister], you said there would be no referendum, no ballot papers, no ballots, no campaign, no voters, no anything. And there were all there. With all dignity and thanks to the people, in an impressive lesson of social self-protection, popular self-organization and democratic self-defense in each school, in each ballot box and in each vote. And there’s more. Even more: on Tuesday, they precipitated the biggest general strike – for liberties, against repression – and the biggest known socio-political stoppage since the end of the dictatorship. Dock workers, firefighters, farmers’ tractors, schools, students, trade unionists, small shops and medium-sized enterprises, and especially the greatness of our elderly, of each grandfather and grandmother. The faces of a rock-hard dignity, with the melodies – the revolt of the pots, also, clanging every evening – of a political community in resistance. What are we? Today, now, here.
Media defeat. Fiction against reality, the information autarchy of the 1978 regime has been inversely proportional to the global viral impact of brutality, to international stupefaction and to the priceless solidarity from every corner of the world. Fragility and hope, I’ll stick to one: the communiqué of support from the free rebel Kurdish women in Rojava. The ballot box as an international political grammar of the Spanish authoritarian anomaly and the Catalan democratic conflict is by now impregnable. An early tweet by Jordi Évole, sent around dawn from Mossul, announced and denounced it: “Those who devised this plan to avoid the referendum do not know that what they have caused is that Catalonia today is definitely leaving.”
Ethical-moral defeat. For those of us who come from grassroots social and cooperative movements, which is where we have learned everything, there is a final defeat, the most basic one, which still makes us fall silent – and weep, let’s say it all. That the ethics of civil, peaceful and non-violent disobedience – and its social, humanistic and transformative potential – have been the jointly agreed tool to resist, says it all. The fact feminism – our bodies, our ballot boxes -, antimilitarism – disarm weapons – and cooperation – only union gives us the strength – have been our refuge, says it all. And leaves them speechless.
Today everything starts all over again. Once again. Yes. But for the last five days it has already started somewhere elsewhere. As if I lived in La Dovella, the school in El Clot that in 48 hours of my life taught me everything: reason, memory, imagination, commitment. And the Zapatista dignity of those beneath. There’s no question, we’ll need to think and rethink a lot – much more, and altogether – about how to preserve so many intimate resistances that turned into the collective dignity of 1-Oct. That will be the cornerstone: we’ll move forward, if we know how to stay inside it and expand it. For we know only too well that the Spanish State – the Revenge State, too – has put a price on Catalonia’s political freedom. Voiceless, this is the first text I’ve written since Sunday, because I’d been muted by so much dignity, and so much brutality. But if I had to conclude, I would say, paradoxically, that in wanting to be a republic we have learned to be a people. And I still can’t find the words of thanks, to project this and to decode it. Thanks for everything. Thanks for so much. We carry on. We’ll carry on.